National Museum Zurich - History and Facts | History Hit

National Museum Zurich

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

The National Museum Zurich displays some one million exhibits relating to Swiss history and culture.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About National Museum Zurich

The National Museum Zurich (Landesmuseum Zurich) displays over a million exhibits relating to Swiss history and culture. From ancient artefacts to medieval costume and modern furniture, the National Museum Zurich covers a diverse range of subjects and periods, from the prehistoric to present day.

Amongst other things at the National Museum Zurich, there’s an impressive display of Swiss handicrafts, a variety of historic religious items and weapons from the old Zurich Armoury.

Together with the Castle of Prangins and the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz, the National Museum Zurich forms part of the Swiss National Museum.

National Museum Zurich history

The discussion around creating a Swiss national museum began in 1883. Zurich was chosen as the site for the museum in 1891 over other options of Lucerne, Basel and Bern. Architect Gustav Gull drew on various historic architectural features from the late medieval period and the modern era resulting in a combination that is reminiscent of a fairytale castle.

The museum’s permanent displays include sections on Swiss history, furniture, interiors, weaponry, and a vast collection of art, crafts, fashion, and decorative items. Temporary exhibitions enhance the permanent collections to illustrate in more depth various elements of Swiss history and culture.

It is the largest collection documenting the cultural history of Switzerland including handicrafts, everyday objects, sculptures, and paintings from prehistory to the present day.

Although human settlements in Switzerland go back several millennia, the museum focuses on the history of Switzerland from the Roman era to the present. Special emphasis is given to the development and growth of Switzerland from the foundation of the Swiss Confederation at the end of the thirteenth century to the formal foundation of the Confœderatio Helvetica in 1848.

The Swiss National Museum is one of the most popular museums in Switzerland and a top sightseeing sight to see when visiting Zurich.

National Museum Zurich today

Today, the National Museum Zurich is regarded as an architectural monument of national importance.

The new building was designed by Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein and opened in 2016 complementing Gustav Gull’s wing of the building. The new building provides facilities for large, flexible exhibition halls, a modern library and an auditorium for public events.

Getting to the National Museum Zurich

The site is easily accessible by public transport. Bus lines 31, 46, 751 and E pass by the museum. The nearest train station is Museumstrasse.